We first published the Safety Guide for Economic Development Professionals in 2018.It was, and still is, the only safety guide for our profession. Since safety isn’t a one-time discussion, this blog revisits the topic in hopes that you will make safety a regular part of your office protocols.
Economic developers take on so many roles, chauffer, travel guide, tour leader, and often spending considerable time with strangers. Working with visiting prospects at short notice is actually the goal of many local and regional economic development programs. Combined with what are often small staffs and long distances, safety protocols are a critical topic for economic development offices.
I receive regular safety training as a real estate broker but have never had a safety briefing at any economic development meeting or conference, even though we often act in a similar capacity to realtors. Occasionally, we find ourselves at a meeting place, usually hosted by a company, where the meeting agenda begins with a ‘safety briefing’. Outside of our allies in the utilities, we doubt that many economic developers view safety as fundamental to their work and success.
Creative EDC developed and published the first Safety Guide specifically for the economic development profession. Printed copies have been shared with area economic development associations as a public service to the industry in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. It is a free download on our website. The brochure includes protocols and practices for your office as well as tips and reminders for solo site visits and travel. You can view a web-optimized version here.
We encourage each of you to raise and discuss the topic of safety at your next staff meeting. We found most veteran economic developers have a story or two to share of lessons learned, and every organization can brush up on best practices and protocols. Make safety a priority for your team, and make its priority known.
Top 10 Safety Tips
- 1. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
- 2. Anticipate your exit route and park your car so that it cannot be blocked in.
- 3. Park in well-lighted spaces.
- 4. Keep your gas tank above half-full.
- 5. Keep your phone charged and have 911 programmed in speed dial.
- 6. Always lock your car and close the windows.
- 7. Avoid solo meetings when possible.
- 8. Limit personal information shared in marketing.
- 9. Check in with your office frequently.
- 10. Carry your car keys in your hand. They can be an effective weapon in case of an attach.